The menu had two food sections, labelled "earlier" and "later", in addition to "sides". The former contained brunch items like pancakes, eggs and mushrooms; the latter had a small but diverse selection of food, with salads, seafood dishes, and a beef wellington sandwich. There were also ready-to-go sandwiches and pastries in the counter, which we did not check out.
With just a little note at the back of the menu, you could easily overlook their use of local, fair trade and organic ingredients.
|Back of the menu.|
The setting was cool and spacious, with high ceilings in the new extension by the (unfortunately blue-tinted) windows. You can get a great view to Britomart, or look in more detail at the facades of the old buildings lining Queen Street. There is an open kitchen area near the centre of the floor, if you prefer to watch the chefs at work instead.
|Cool and spacious cafe.|
The service was attentive—we were greeted as soon as we got to the top of the escalators and promptly seated and provided with water. Most tables were given their own water jugs with strips of cucumber inside, but presumably our table was too small for that, so someone poured for us instead. In addition to a pepper grinder (no salt), each table had a container of golden grains of coconut sugar.
What we ate included:
- salmon nicoise ($21) - this was tasty and actually larger than it looked, as the fish came with a boiled egg and plenty of potatoes, along with the salad leaves, black cherry tomatoes and mustardy dressing.
- brioche bagel with mozzarella and tomato ($9) - no danger of being hungry with this either, as the ring was puffy as well as buttery. Nicely toasted, it was served with pesto, heirloom tomatoes and a slice of fresh cheese. It seemed like an unusual combination to me; I suspect I would have preferred just a plain bagel, or perhaps the brioche with the preserves and mascarpone filling. Maybe it was the colour of the light that threw me.
|Brioche bagel with mozzarella, pesto and tomato.|
- banana, date and walnut smoothie ($9) - to be honest, I wouldn't have guessed any of the ingredients listed. This smoothie was very thick and not really sweet at all, topped off with crunchy cocoa nibs, and a sprig of mint. You barely need lunch after drinking this.
|Banana, date and walnut smoothie.|
Overall, this cafe has good food at a central location, with extra brownie points for its commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices. If you find the blue light too disturbing, you can always get something to take away. We would be keen to return to try the intriguing-sounding beef wellington sandwich ($28) and some of the lighter dishes as well.
Level 1, 45 Queen Street, Auckland Central
(09) 379 6924